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Jumping in Pictures

And of course, text . . . because it’s ME! did you think I could have a post without any words? :-)

A couple Saturdays ago, Princess had another horse show. Talk about a learning experience!

My little Princess had started to act like just that on her horse . . . a Princess. A 60 pound Princess who forget her 900 pound horse is ACTUALLY in charge unless she rides him like he’s not in charge.

We’ve been riding a lot this summer with lessons and leases, which has been awesome! She’s gotten so much practice and is doing much better with everything horse-related.

But all this riding also made her a bit complacent . . . and quite frankly, entitled.

She knows EVERYTHING about horses and tack and riding and jumping . . . just ask her :-)

The week before the show, we finally punched holes in her leathers to make her stirrups the right length without having to wrap them around the stirrups. When went to her lesson, Miss Amara said we needed to lower them . . . we agreed, and I did. Princess threw a FIT! We lowered them even more, but not as much as they should have been – call it a compromise. They were still too short, but Princess insisted that was how they were comfortable and she liked them that way.

Whatever – not a fight I was willing to fight.

So we practiced for the week, all the while Princess refusing to believe that she was leaning too far forward during the jumps and not sitting back far enough (or at all!) to stop her horse. Let’s just say I was getting more than frustrated. Amara had the same experience at the lesson before the show. She got through a little bit, but not enough.

Anyhoo – the day of the show came and Princess and Prince looked awesome as always :-)

Here they are on a practice jump before the show started . . . lookin’ good!


In addition to the two cross-rails divisions, Princess entered the flat Walk/Trot class.



They were beautiful and awesome and did everything perfect. Great posture, correct diagonals, great horse control. Her best ride in a show by far.

And they didn’t even place in the top 6 out of 8. We were all (especially her trainer!) a bit miffed, but it’s one judge judging . . . that’s the nature of horse shows. The only thing it could’ve been, really, was her short stirrups messing up the line from her heels to he shoulders. Princess wouldn’t even listen, though. She insisted they were the right length and wouldn’t change them. I did sneak in a small change in length when she wasn’t on Prince . . . baby steps.

Anyhoo . . . she had her first jumping class and it was INTERESTING! Prince did great on the first couple jumps, then cantered between the two line jumps, which we all expected. The only thing was, Princess panicked a little bit and didn’t sit back to slow him down . . . she just kept leaning over his neck and he went faster and faster and jumped higher and higher. He went around a corner so fast once that his number flew off his bridle! They made it around, doing all the jumps without anyone falling off. Whew! Princess was quite nervous about it . . . she couldn’t stop talking.

Then we had a little chat with her about needing to sit back when he starts to canter so he slows down. Of course, she would have none of Amara’s advice, insisting it wasn’t her fault.

I snuck in another lowering of the stirrups – more baby steps.

Then it was time for her second adventure through the course. This time she started out with more horse control and was doing great, until she didn’t sit back between jumps and Prince just took off at a very fast canter. He was making the jumps and even though we knew she wasn’t in total control, it looked much more in control than the first jump.

Then just as Prince started over the last jump, he changed his mind and refused. Princess lost a stirrup and almost flew off, but she grabbed Prince’s mane and hung on for dear life before pulling herself back on and finishing the course.

The good thing . . . she didn’t fall off. Falling off hurts and also is a disqualification.

The bad thing . . . she didn’t fall off. Falling off hurts and is a great natural teacher.

She rode him back out of the arena and did all she could to not cry . . . she only shed 2 tears after she was off of Prince.

Hubby got a great photo of her out of control jumps . . .


I showed it to Princess and she said “Whoa! That is SO not right! No WONDER he went so fast and I almost fell off!”

Um, ya THINK?! She’s way over his neck, her feet are straight back, her heels are not down at all, and she’s way high above her horse (damn short stirrups!).

At least she recognized the flaws when she SAW what we were talking about.

Miss Amara and I had a long talk about it . . . I’ve always said Princess needs to jump BETTER, not higher. Amara agreed that everything had gotten so busy over the summer and a bit overwhelming and that all the girls needed to go back to basics so they’re ready for anything. I also told Amara that Princess’ participation in the shows MUST be dependant on her working toward a riding goal each month and meeting those goals. It’s not a right to show, you must earn it.

Princess and I had a loooooonnnggg talk about her attitude and horses and who’s in charge and who is the professional and who is the student and who is going to listen to who and say Yes Ma’am and do what they’re told without adding commentary. That, along with the threat of not participating in the next show and not getting to lease, were enough.

A few lessons without stirrups, without reins, and bareback will do wonders for a girl’s riding flaws as well as teach her that you CAN stop a cantering horse without reins by just relaxing your shoulders and sitting back in your saddle.

The past lessons have been awesome! Amara also agreed that Prince jumps so much better when he canters, and if Princess wants to continue to ride him, that she needs to be able to control him and understand how to ride SAFELY like that.

So what have they been working on besides basics? Cantering over jumps, under control, in the pasture. They’re both doing beautifully :-)

Click here to see a video of her cantering over a jump

Here’s to hoping the next couple of weeks are very productive in the arena and we can end the show season on a good note!

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  1. Shirley says:

    Wonderful…absolutely wonderful!!! She is learning…as most kids…sometimes the hard way first!! She is so darn cute riding Prince and they look soooo good together. Love…Mom

  2. Sue Boedigheimer says:

    Thanks for the story and the pictures. You are setting some great examples and teaching some great lessons. Thank you for keeping us in touch with what is happening. It is great to follow Princess through your stories.

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